Uber hired Obama’s former adviser and campaign manager to direct the company’s global policy and political activities, communications and branding efforts. The company has reportedly been looking to hire a top political strategist since earlier this summer as it aggressively challenges local regulations and the taxi industry in multiple cities.
“Over the years, what I’ve come to realize is that this controversy exists because we are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber,” wrote founder Travis Kalanick in a blog. “Our opponent – the Big Taxi cartel – has used decades of political contributions and influence to restrict competition, reduce choice for consumers, and put a stranglehold on economic opportunity for its drivers.”
Earlier this month, Politico ran a story about repeated speculation that the former White House adviser would return as Obama’s chief of staff, billing Plouffe “the most popular guy in Washington.” He is the most high profile-political insider the company has picked up in its recent push to make more regulatory hires. In May the company hired one of the top officials from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission.
“We’re on an inexorable path of progress here,” Plouffe said in an interview with the New York Times. “Uber is making transportation safer. It’s providing jobs; it’s cutting down on drunk and distracted driving. I think the mission is really important.”
Plouffe was not the only top political strategist considered for the new position. In July, Re/code’s Kara Swisher reported Uber was in talks former White House press secretary Jay Carney and Howard Wolfson, who served as a strategist to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton during the 2008 campaign.
Plouffe will start at Uber in September.